Learn Exactly How To Prepare For And What To Do And Say At Your Social Security Disability Hearing!









How to prepare for a hearing

First, I hope you have followed our Social Security Disability mini course and are poised to win your case early and avoid the wait for a hearing.   

In the event you will have to win your case at a hearing, I have compiled these hearing tips from representatives to prepare you and make the last step in your approval process smooth and stress free.

If you currently have a Social Security Disability representative, I suggest you check with them to confirm that these tips are consistent with their procedure.

The goal is for you to be informed and relaxed. One of the key steps to help with this is meeting with your Social Security Disability representative (if you have one), preferably in person.

Key things you want to understand are:

1. Hearing location
Look up where the hearing location is …. What building, what floor, etc. If possible, go to the site before the hearing, and scout out a parking area.   Calculate the time it will take you to park and get inside.
2. Arrival time
Arrive 30 minutes before the hearing.

3. Dress
Dress to show respect to the judge. Don't buy anything, but wear what you would wear if you were invited to church.

4. What to learn about the hearing office
Ask your representative to describe the hearing office and the hearing room: What equipment will be in the room?  Who will be present and their roles?

Remember:  This is court, but you are not in trouble. The government made you pay for these benefits and you are proving why you can’t work any job five days a week / 40 hours a week.

There is no bailiff, no crowd, and the judge is not likely to stand up and talk down to you.

No one wins an argument, especially in the court room.  I recommend that at all cost don't argue with the judge. Be polite and direct with your answers, don’t ramble.  If you have a Security Disability representative, defer as much of the communication with the judge to the representative.

You cannot control the judge's behavior, but you can control what goes on the record. The record is cast in concrete and lives on after this hearing.

You can expect that the judge and your representative will ask you questions. You are required to answer out loud, and to be successful, you will need to explain in own words. 

A tip for a solid reply is right after you are asked the question, take a breath and a brief pause and review the question in your mind to make sure you understand it.  If you don’t understand the question or want to make certain you do, then say, "I want to make certain I understand your question.  Are you asking....” 

When you reply, imagine you are talking to someone with whom you are comfortable, like your doctor or spouse.

Some helpful language to use are common names. body parts, left and right, and real life descriptions to explain your limitations.

We often say too much when nervous. This can be a HUGE problem.  It’s critical that you control your behavior.  This tip will help:

When you hear a question that starts with "how," for example, "how long," how far" etc., take your time, think about that question, and answer it with a number. Don't be vague. Tell the truth, answer completely, and don't volunteer anything.  

Cannot stand for more than 15 minutes
Cannot stand for more than 10 minutes
Cannot walk more than 20 feet on a level surface before I have to pause
Cannot lift a gallon of milk

Cannot climb more that five steps before I have to pause
Can not was the dinner dishes for two people without taking breaks  

You will swear to tell the truth, and the judge must believe you unless something in the evidence, even your own testimony, contradicts it.

Remember, the main issue is your physical and/or mental capacity to perform competitive work. In your application, SSA said they think your condition does not prevent all competitive work. This is how you lost.

There are real life issues that prevent people from working but are not relevant, such as the economy is lousy and no one is hiring; when you tell the employer about your back injury, the employer does not want to hire you because her insurance rates will go up; etc.

Although these are real life reasons why people can't work, they
are not consistent with what SSA is looking for.  These arguments or comments won't fly with the judge, and I strongly suggest that you don’t bring them up.

Again, the main issue is your physical and/or mental capacity to perform competitive work, especially if you have the evidence to show that you cannot do your past relevant work. I will help you:

Always: Tell the truth, answer completely, and don't volunteer anything. This is really important.

Many applicants mention or agree to things that they think help them, but really hurt them. It’s important that you trust your Security Disability representative to ask the right questions.

Typically the representative will ask you to explain how your conditions limit your ability to work and should prepare you on how to answer.

It is a good practice to advise your representative that if you get off track with an answer, to remind you to get back on track. 

In closing, when the day comes remember what you need to focus on and stay relaxed.  If you do, you will make a relevant contribution and provide an important on-point testimony that will maximize your chances of winning your case.  

It is my pleasure to help you win your disability income.

Brian Therrien
p.s. To learn more about what happens at a hearing
Watch These Videos
p.p.s Learn how to win your disability hearing on your own click here
p.p.p.s Seven things you must know about your disability hearing but don't know to ask! Click here









All About A Social Security Disability Hearing